House of Commons photo

Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was colleague.

Last in Parliament March 2011, as Conservative MP for Pontiac (Québec)

Lost his last election, in 2011, with 30% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Grain Transportation May 12th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, if the FRCC had purchased the cars, there would have been lease costs. I think everybody can see that. Those lease costs would have been added on and the farmers would be paying more money for the service. We are saying, essentially, that the decision that we have taken has saved the Canadian farmers $50 million. That is performance.

Grain Transportation May 11th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, farmers will benefit greatly from the government's decision to keep the cars. If the amendments to Bill C-11 are adopted in the House, we will be able to work on the revenue cap. As we work on the revenue cap, we will be able to bring down maintenance costs. Those maintenance costs will then be forwarded toward the farmers and those who use the hopper cars. That represents a $50 million saving for Canada's farmers.

Business of Supply May 11th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, I know the work that has been done by our hon. colleague and her husband, and all the work that was done when he was president of the federation. I was also there as one of the cheerleaders as a town councillor to push for this, so it is not just one member of the House who pushed for it. It is many people in a lot of communities in a lot of town halls and in places across this country who want to support initiatives that give results.

Initiatives that give results are the ones that we spoke about before, initiatives for instance, whereby the government of Ontario, the municipal-regional organization in Toronto, all support public transit. We should be continuing, collectively speaking, to push for initiatives such as those so that we can not only better the health of Canadians but increase their quality of life. Those are the things that count.

Business of Supply May 11th, 2006

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

My colleague is asking me what we have done. I can tell him about my personal experience as a citizen who is concerned about the environment.

I was talking earlier about my experience at the Société de transport de l'Outaouais. Each day, 365 days a year, residents of the Outaouais region use the bridges to go to work in Ottawa. By implementing reserved traffic lanes, we have eliminated the equivalent of over 20,000 cars a year.

These are concrete measures. Unfortunately, the previous government did not support concrete measures. I see the member nodding in agreement. However, if our credits and incentives succeed in convincing people to use public transit to go to work, I think it will be good for everybody.

I congratulate the member on the work he has done. I believe it is important and we must continue.

Business of Supply May 11th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, I will give my hon. colleague a very direct example of the plan.

When we spoke about a tax credit that is going to be coming into play very shortly, as the former president of Société de transport de l'Outaouais on the other side of the river, for the people who live in Buckingham and who have decided to take the bus on a daily basis, their inter-regional pass costs $102.50 per month. That represents that 15% tax credit, plus another 10% that the transit corporation itself will add on to that in order to keep its clientele. That is a 25% reduction, $253 on a yearly basis, which is equivalent to a little more than two months of free bus passes.

That is a very tangible example of what we are doing in terms of diminishing greenhouse gases.

Business of Supply May 11th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, I am happy to have the opportunity today to speak on an extremely important subject, namely climate change. I am pleased to address the motion of the hon. member for Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie.

In speaking of climate change, one of the elements we have to consider is the transportation sector and the contribution made by public transit to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. The transportation sector offers great potential for improving air quality and reducing the effects of climate change in Canada.

However public transit is not the only solution. We must help Canadians who do not have access to public transit, or those still unable to use it, to reduce their dependence on traditional fossil fuels. We must also look at how the freight transportation sector can contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

This government realizes that climate change is an important issue for the country.

Just last year, as the minister indicated before and it is worth repeating, there were 53 smog days in Ontario, 24 in Quebec and three in Atlantic Canada. For the first time ever, 10 winter smog advisories in Quebec and five in Ontario were issued. This is simply not acceptable.

I can assure members that this government is committed to ensuring that public transit is an attractive option for Canadians. Good public transit systems make a real contribution to urban planning and to the successful functioning of our communities. Good public transit systems make it easier for people to get to work and to the other activities that are key for their quality of life.

I say this as both Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities and also as past president of la Société de transport de l'Outaouais. I was also fortunate to be president of the Quebec Association of Urban Transit . As such, I have hands-on experience in this issue dealing with urban transit. I recognize the need for investing heavily in public transit and providing people with alternatives that encourage them to leave their cars at home. We must take and are taking action.

Budget 2006 proposes a tax credit for transit passes and a $1.3 billion investment in a public transit capital infrastructure trust. As well, the budget maintains the gas tax funding commitment under the new deal for cities and communities. In 2009-10, this initiative will provide the equivalent of up to 5¢ per litre of gasoline excise tax, or $2 billion, for municipalities. I would point out that some of our biggest cities, Montreal, Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver, have already indicated that they will use all of their gas tax funds to support public transit.

While these actions are significant, they are not all that we are doing. Allow me to expand on the government's commitment to public transit.

I am proud to tell members that the budget that was just adopted proposes a 15.5% tax credit for the users of public transit, which takes effect in just over one month. This is real and immediate action.

That means that a person who buys an $80 pass each month will save $150 a year. That is money in the pockets of Canadians who do their part by leaving their car at home. This is important now, and will be even more important for the future. We have to create a culture of public transit in Canada.

And as the government, we will not stop there. One of the biggest obstacles to increasing the clientele of public transit is its relative cost and its practicality. So we have to upgrade and increase the public transit infrastructure.

The government is determined to provide stable, reliable funding to the provinces, territories, cities and communities so that they can meet their infrastructure needs. This investment in public transit infrastructure will make it possible to reduce highway congestion and the associated harmful emissions.

In budget 2006 we are providing $900 million in a public transit capital trust. This trust will help provinces provide funding for capital investment in public transit infrastructure, including rapid transit, transit buses, intelligent transportation systems and other investments, including high occupancy vehicles and bicycle lanes.

A further $400 million in funding for public transit has been provided through agreements with provinces and territories. Nine of those agreements have been finalized and those jurisdictions already have the funds.

The Canada strategic infrastructure fund has been renewed in the budget with an additional $2 billion. This fund is already supporting public transit initiatives, such as the Toronto Transit Commission, the Canada Line in Vancouver and the light rail transit right here in Ottawa. These measures represent real and tangible investment in public transit.

Since coming to power, the government has done more than any other government to encourage the use of public transit.

But not all Canadians have access to public transit. What is more, some people have to use a vehicle to get to work. Therefore we have to consider the matter of the fuels we use for our cars, trucks and other motor vehicles.

Renewable energy sources offer great potential for innovation, job creation and regional diversification. We are setting ourselves the objective of 5% renewable content in Canadian engine fuels by 2010. We intend to move ahead with this commitment, collaborating fully with the provinces and territories. Here is why.

Increasing the renewable energy content of fuels can help us achieve numerous objectives. From the standpoint of environmental conservation, 5% renewable content in engine fuels will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Biodiesel can also contribute to improving air quality.

Economic development is important in everything we do, and there are big upsides in moving on this front. This brings a whole new business opportunity to our farmers and to the forestry industry, and strengthens the local economic bases of our rural communities. If we are smart about how we move this forward, we can help advance next generation technology development and lay a significant stepping stone to future biorefineries and related renewable industrial and consumer based products.

As well, on May 5 I announced more than half a million dollars for projects that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the freight transportation sector. This funding is provided under the Transport Canada freight sustainability demonstration program.

In French, this is the PDTU.

Transport Canada is also supporting the introduction and use of safe, environmentally friendly vehicles through its advanced technology vehicle programs.

This government fully recognizes the critical role the transportation sector plays in our economy as an open and trading based nation. This sector needs to be a focus of our attention and to make progress on both the economic and environmental fronts.

We have taken action. We are going to continue taking action.

Canada Post May 10th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, I would hope the member would have done just what our two colleagues did. I would have liked her to congratulate our two colleagues on reporting these allegations where they should be reported.

Canada Post May 10th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for her question. We did in fact assume our responsibilities. When our two colleagues reported this information, these allegations, they did what they should have, they alerted the police to what was happening, or in fact to what was being alleged. It is my intention, in fact, to meet the chair of the board of Canada Post in the coming week to review this matter.

UNESCO May 9th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, I invite my hon. colleague to reread the agreement that the Government of Canada and the Government of Quebec signed last week. In the preamble, he will read that the parties have decided to work cooperatively, to work together for the benefit of Quebeckers and Canadians.

Official Languages May 9th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, I see that my hon. colleague defends this matter with great conviction. Nonetheless, it is a shame he did not have that same conviction for defending this issue in the past.

I would add that I had the opportunity last week to meet the Commissioner for the first time since we came into power. She brought this issue to my attention. We will take into consideration all aspects of the issue and announce our position at a later date.